January 14, 2022

Well, we own a home now. For better or for worse.

I overall feel good about it. I think it was the right financial decision (mortgage interest rates still low, rents going way up in our area, uncertainty about inflation, not planning on changing jobs or moving far away anytime soon).

I am dreading home upkeep costs, and unlike most people I guess I am missing the gene where you are supposed to be excited about decorating your space.

(I am however somewhat excited to organize it and use this as a decluttering excuse, so I guess there is that).

The last few days have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, and thus I have been a little quieter in this space. (I have also given myself a break when it comes to some of my usual routines- which means I slept more + didn’t get up to work out or post!).

I got some news about a friend leaving the medical profession which hit me HARD (she’s my age). I cried and spent a lot of time doubting my own choices, though eventually landed on the fact that my job is generally a positive factor in my life and also is part of a larger scale plan for our family. Aside from this, there have been some work-related stresses. And I just had way too many early + late meetings this week. Despite being tired, I woke up at 2:45 last night and basically tossed and turned until my alarm went off.

About to head out for a run in 55 degree weather which is somewhat thrilling. I will run past our house, because why not (it’s a mile from this house)!

The only (sort of) positive thing about this week has been that half of Josh’s cases have been cancelled due to the COVID surge so he’s been home more. Also I’m hearing rumors that maybe we’re hitting our peak already? Let’s hope.

Also, I guess “winter” is here. Never mind the highs of mid-70s/80 . . .


  • Reply Sonna January 14, 2022 at 6:37 am

    Congrats on your new home!! I totally get that, it hits me too in a weird way when I hear someone leaving medicine. One of my close friends is planning to leave and it me hard too, hope you’re feeling better x

  • Reply Gillian January 14, 2022 at 7:18 am

    It’s early yet, but we seem to have passed the peak here in NYC and the other side is looking pretty steep. I am hopeful this trend will continue.

    Congrats on the new house! Having just finished a renovation I would say the best thing about homeownership is making things just the way you want them…I mean this more in a functional way, as opposed to decorative.

    As for leaving medicine, I have had a few colleagues leave in the last two years. It is hard. But I agree, by job (which I do love) is part of my family’s big plan. I can’t imagine life without it.

    • Reply omdg January 14, 2022 at 12:59 pm

      Eh, check out Germany’s numbers. They “passed the peak” 2 weeks ago, and are now on the upswing of a new, higher peak.

      • Reply Ana Maria Cabreira January 17, 2022 at 7:17 am

        omg that sucks. I was excited NY was getting better, now feeling more cautious

  • Reply Ames January 14, 2022 at 8:03 am

    Congratulations on closing! I wish you loads of happy experiences in it! I feel you on missing the decorating gene – the only part of it I enjoy is selecting paint colors bc I’m aware of how color impacts my mood.

    IMHO 55 degrees is the ideal running temperature when one lives in a humid climate. ❤️

  • Reply Amanda January 14, 2022 at 8:48 am

    Congrats on the closing! I second what Gillian said about making things just how you want them. In terms of organizing, that means you can invest/install all the storage units, drawer and cabinet organizers, etc., that would only be temporary in a rental.
    This morning’s Florida brisk temps felt great.

    • Reply Gillian January 14, 2022 at 9:18 am

      @Amanda cabinet inserts are the best!!! My label maker has also been getting heavy use. All my kids can read now, so there is no excuse for putting things in the wrong place.

  • Reply Marianne January 14, 2022 at 8:53 am

    Congrats on the house! I share your non-decorating gene. It’s hard to lose friends in the field. I am wondering if I will see a similar drop in academia. Pandemic teaching has been tough.

  • Reply Sarah D January 14, 2022 at 9:05 am

    Yay for closing! That’s always great to have behind you.
    It is so tough to see close friends leave the field, and always prompts self reflection. My question is always, “what are they going to do now?” Are they moving to a non clinical role? Stopping work entirely? Going into a different field? That seems so much more challenging (to me) at the age of 41…

  • Reply KDR January 14, 2022 at 9:22 am

    Congrats on the house! As a first time home buyer in 2020, I found it helpful to set aside 5% of my house’s value each year for maintenance costs and work that into our monthly budget. We don’t use that amount most months but the accumulated money makes me feel better about those big expenditures – especially because we bought a 30 yo house and many parts are reaching the end of their lives.

    And if you don’t like decorating – friendly reminder that you can outsource a lot of that now! I found I couldn’t turn around without tripping over someone’s recommendation of a family member who is an interior designer. And I know that there are services now that will unpack and organize areas of your house like the kitchen. We’re normally do it yourself kind of people but we just had somebody paint our main bedroom and they got done in a day what would’ve taken us several weekends. It’s so nice to walk in there with everything done. Sometimes it helps to throw money at a problem 😉

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 14, 2022 at 11:40 am

      omg 5% is quite high! that’s essentially another mortgage payment I do 100% agree with having a home maintenance fund that is added too every month. I’ll probably start with ~2.5%

      • Reply KDR January 15, 2022 at 11:21 am

        Omg you’re right! I think I took the 5% number from one of Lisa Woodruff’s podcasts but a quick Google told me 1-4% 😂😳 i guess over budgeting is never a bad thing?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 14, 2022 at 11:46 am

      Ahh, but I have an allergic reaction to spending money on home decor (even though I am SOOOO not frugal in general and have no problems splurging on the kids or for a big vacation). So that makes a decorator/organizer unlikely . We WILL have professionals do our move.

      • Reply Jen January 18, 2022 at 6:01 am

        I’m in a similar boat. I do not like decorating but I do want a home that looks put together and grown-up. I used Modsy and for ~$130/room I was able to get a design that I love. It was nice to see how someone else would layout my rooms and they stayed in my budget quite well. Nothing earth shattering but they provide a shopping list with the items so is was super easy.

  • Reply Katie January 14, 2022 at 9:27 am

    Congrats on the house! As a non-medicine person, I’m curious to know more why your friend’s news hit you hard. I saw a few others mentioned it in the comments, too. Is it jealousy? Sad because she won’t be at work? Grief because the pandemic pushed her to this? Im not sure why I find this so interesting 😅

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 14, 2022 at 11:39 am

      MIX of all of that!!!

    • Reply reallifeinutopia January 15, 2022 at 1:13 pm

      I was wondering too! I’m not in the medical field too so maybe that’s why I didn’t understand.

  • Reply Connie C January 14, 2022 at 10:00 am

    Congrats on home ownership!

    When do you plan to move?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 14, 2022 at 11:38 am

      Hopefully by end of Feb 🙂

  • Reply Alyce January 14, 2022 at 10:11 am

    Congrats on the new home! I do very much enjoy decorating my home, but I have to admit that I get far more excited about organizing than I do decorating. It’s just a more fun puzzle to solve, figuring out the systems and storage that work best for a new living space, or as life changes. Missing the joy of setting up a new home is one of the downsides of homeownership for me, even though I do get to experience a tiny bit of it as my daughter grows and her needs change over time. When it comes to decorating, I accept the fundamental premise that there’s a huge difference between what the internet says is a beautiful and well decorated home, and what a beautiful and decorated home in real life, where there’s usually limited [money/time/energy] resources for decorating looks like. I do want to live in a beautiful and comfortable home, so I focus limited decorating bandwidth on finding beautiful versions of the things I need for my home to function well – if I need a bookshelf, I look for a bookshelf I think is beautiful – but that’s as far as I take it. I don’t care about continuously updating my home, or about finding and incorporating useless decorative objects. I grew up without money, and my family home was rundown and dingy and kind’ve makeshift, and being surrounded by items I think are beautiful and functional is valuable to me because it makes my home life feel good. It can be a lot of work when I first move in, but the benefits continue in the long term.

    Also, my boss/work wife weeps openly whenever she hears of a coworker retiring. Okay, that’s maybe a slight exaggeration, but she has big feelings about still having another 12 years before she retires. Now that people are retiring from the Federal government in droves, and the stalwarts are leaving left and right, maybe I’ve become so accustomed to her reactions that I think it’s totally normal to have big emotional reactions to people leaving their jobs?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 14, 2022 at 11:45 am

      I literally did weep (though not openly – I was home, lol). It just felt like such a loss!!!! And yes, I felt oddly abandoned even though we aren’t even in the same field!!

  • Reply Elisabeth January 14, 2022 at 10:21 am

    Sorry you’re on the roller coaster this week; it seems practically impossible to avoid at this point in life + pandemic realities.
    We’ve just finished a week of at-home learning; couple in some major work stress (for my husband, not me…but this directly impacts me because he’s exhausted), and I am so ready for the weekend but also just feeling like it’s impossible to plan beyond a day or two in advance. Lots of neighbouring provinces (I’m in Canada) have extended their online learning, and where my parents live they have just gone in to full lockdown (no church, no school, no hairdressers, and no one outside of a single family is permitted to get together for social gatherings).
    It’s all exhausting and you have a lot of different irons in the fire with an intense career (+ a spouse with an equally demanding career), young kids, and now a move. Hoping you get relief and that the COVID wave passes through Florida quickly with as little impact as possible.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 14, 2022 at 11:44 am

      Maybe it’s a risky strategy (and I recognize not everyone feels this way), but I am honestly very grateful we are not on that kind of lockdown. I hope you are able to get through this wave QUICKLY too!!

  • Reply lawandcreative January 14, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    Congrats! How exciting 😊

  • Reply omdg January 14, 2022 at 1:01 pm

    I think about leaving medicine almost every day, if not every day. Seeing patients brings me joy. Feeling like I’m drowning and constantly failing is not inspirational. This was the biggest reason we deferred buying a house for so long, honestly.

  • Reply Linda January 14, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    It makes me sad to think of doctors leaving medicine after all the years of work they put into achieving that degree. I’m an RN and I know lots of nurses are leaving too. As well as teachers. I don’t have any answers but just want to agree that it is so sad. I don’t know what I would want to do if I wasn’t a nurse.

  • Reply coco January 14, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    congrats on closing the house! I am excited for the decor part for you. hahaha…. let us know what’s your plan. I think every move is an opportunity to declutter and redecorate which is something I’m excited about to do in few months.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns January 15, 2022 at 8:19 am

    The news about your friend leaving your field is tough! When my sister decided not to go back to work after having their first child, I got really defensive (in my internal monologue and in convos with my husband – not in convos with her). Her decision to not go back was because of what they thought was best for their daughter. I had to remind myself that it’s an individual decision. I was secure in knowing I am meant to be a working mom. And I am not the least bit jealous of her situation. I know I would not be happy staying home. But it was still kind of hard for me and we are not in the same industry! I think hearing of others choices can make us question ours or feel less secure in our decisions. But I imagine that your decision to continue to work is truly right for you and your family, but this hit you at a vulnerable time.

    Congrats on the closing! I also don’t have the decorating gene and don’t value spending money on decor. So our house looks ‘nice enough’! But I just bought some drawer organizers for our kitchen from Crate and Barrel which I am SUPER excited about them! I have been organizing the drawers and cupboards in our kitchen so am excited to take the organization a step further!

  • Reply reallifeinutopia January 15, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    Congrats on the closing, very exciting!

  • Reply HYJ January 22, 2022 at 9:55 am

    Congrats on the closing! It’s rumored that hiring a decorator can keep expenses of finishing a space reduced. I have not tested this theory but may explore it soon as I share your lack of interior design delight and hate spending money- but want a home that feels wonderful and purposeful.

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